August 25: Bob Dylan released “Not Dark Yet” in 1997


A lot of the songs (on Time Out Of Mind) were written after the sun went down . . This one phrase was going through my head: ‘Work while the day lasts, because the night of death cometh when no man can work … It wouldn’t let me go. I was like, what does that phrase mean? … It was at the forefront of my mind for a long period of time, and I think a lot of that is instilled into this record
~Bob Dylan to Jon Pareles, 1997

‘ Not Dark Yet ‘ is many folks’ favourite song on Dylan’s 1997 album, and for sure it pushes all the right buttons: a gorgeous vocal, a brooding melody, the darkling worldview and that seemingly effortless way he captured the dusk in his veins.
~Clinton Heylin (Still On The Road)

Wikipedia:

Released August 25, 1997
Format CD
Recorded January 1997
Genre Blues rock
Length 6:29
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Bob Dylan
Producer(s) Daniel Lanois

“Not Dark Yet” was released on his 1997 album Time Out of Mind and also as the first single on August 25, 1997. The song appears on the album The Passion of the Christ: Songs Inspired by The Passion of the Christ, and also features on the Wonder Boys soundtrack. It is also played in the ending part of the documentary Why We Fight.

Shadows are falling and I’ve been here all day
It’s too hot to sleep, time is running away
Feel like my soul has turned into steel
I’ve still got the scars that the sun didn’t heal
There’s not even room enough to be anywhere
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

Some facts:

  • Dylan has played “Not Dark Yet” 166 times live
  • First time was @ Columbus Civic Center, Columbus, Georgia –  October 30, 1997.
  • Last performance was @ Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana – November 2, 2019
  • Peak year: 1999 he played it 57 times

Here are 3 great live versions:

Well, my sense of humanity has gone down the drain
Behind every beautiful thing there’s been some kind of pain
She wrote me a letter and she wrote it so kind
She put down in writing what was in her mind
I just don’t see why I should even care
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

Madison Square Garden
New York City, New York
30 June 1999

Well, I’ve been to London and I’ve been to gay Paree
I’ve followed the river and I got to the sea
I’ve been down on the bottom of a world full of lies
I ain’t looking for nothing in anyone’s eyes
Sometimes my burden seems more than I can bear
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

Stirling Castle
Stirling, Scotland
13 July 2001

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
  • Charlie Sexton (guitar)
  • Larry Campbell (guitar, mandolin, pedal steel guitar & electric slide guitar)
  • Tony Garnier (bass)
  • David Kemper (drums & percussion)

I was born here and I’ll die here against my will
I know it looks like I’m moving, but I’m standing still
Every nerve in my body is so vacant and numb
I can’t even remember what it was I came here to get away from
Don’t even hear a murmur of a prayer
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

Bren Events Center
University Of California Irvine
Irvine, California
11 October 2019


-Egil

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